VISITORS – and locals – in Staffin are urged to keep their dogs under control as we approach a crucial time for the district’s crofters.
Lambing is about to commence for most of the Taobh Sear and it is undoubtedly the most vital period in the crofting calendar. Walkers looking to enjoy the spectacular scenery and fresh air are warmly welcomed to Staffin but please use your common sense and respect the livestock you will encounter on foot.
People walking in Staffin’s 23 townships’ hills and common grazing pastures, as well as the in-bye crofts, should be fully aware of the danger their pets can pose to livestock. There is very little public land in the community, almost all of it is part of the active crofting land. For example, even the Staffin Slipway and Staffin Beach area is part of the Garafad common grazing.
Sheep get anxious when they see dogs who are descended from wolves and are their natural predators. A sheep can’t tell whether a dog is on a lead or not, or if it is with a responsible owner. Worrying can include anything from a dog being ‘at large’, that is, being loose in a field with sheep in it, even if it’s some distance from the animals, to a dog chasing the sheep, or attacking them. You risk prosecution if your dog is caught worrying sheep. Cattle are also grazing in the area and many of them also give birth in spring, the same caution is advised.
Staffin has a reputationamongst buyers at the autumnsales as a source of top quality store lambs and crofters already have to protect their stock at lambing time from predators such as crows and foxes so they can ensure a financial return later in the year for their efforts. They do not need the additional concern of pet dogs causing problems, please respect that.